Monday, September 26, 2011

Oh My Gawd

We bought a house!! After what seems like a really long process (in reality only two weeks), with most of our questions answered we are the owners of a new abode (in December actually). As you could guess we were really paranoid about buying a house after our last experience. So the last two weeks have been full of a building and pest inspection, a mold inspection, numerous entries to the house by moi to see if I react and Mr B crawling through the roof space and looking under every piece of insulation to see if there was mold on the back of the ceiling.

Did I mention we were extremely paranoid? :-)

But it passed nearly all of these. It needs restumping, has a possum infestation in the roof but ultimately is a house with great bones. It really is the worst house in the best street. It's a 1930's art deco clinker brick which is in need of some tender love and attention. We swore we wouldnt do another renovation but after encountering so much mold at open for inspections, we decided we were up for one more reno.

It helps that we have been inspired by the beautiful art deco ceiling roses and cornices, the high ceilings, the spacious rooms, the sunlight and the potential of the seriously over grown garden. It also helps that we can see that a lot of the problem is plain and simple dirt (plus one seriously ugly unlivable filthy poxy bathroom - read ripping out immediately). This house is very dirty but give it a good clean and paint and half the work is done.

And most importantly this house is mold free. It's as dry as the Nullaboor plain underneath, is on a ridge so has fab drainage and has a pitched roof so no condensation to create mold and the ability to put in insulation. Did I mention it is dry underneath?? ;-)

So it's probably plain to all and sundry that we are feels like we've turned a corner and can see a new future for us as a family. That we have the opportunity to have a house with personality is just icing on the cake. And now I get to decorate.....

Picture from here

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Small Blip

I've been having a short hiatus from blogging..a small blip you might say. Last week I had a laparoscopy for some biopsies (the final left over check from my mold exposure). My recovery has actually taken me quite by surprise. Naively surprisingly it was quite painful and it's been a mini bruised owie road to feeling back to normal. So for the last week I've been:

* reading this

* listening to this

* making an offer on a house - remember how I said we were over renovating. Ahem...we lied ;-)

* drooling over potential kitchen renos

* loving this and this and this

* Inspired by the current copy of Peppermint Magazine - this magazine knows no bounds and just keeps getting better and better with each issue

And today is sunny & warm - what more could a girl want!! So this afternoon is dedicated to the garden and playing with Little B xx

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Recycling Addict

Hmm do think Mr B takes recycling a little bit too far ;-) The little mowing tractor above (as we like to call it) was completely made from hard rubbish drive materials - an old chassis, chains, an old broken student chair - all have become a gold mine for this particular project. It was a slow build as the pieces came together but it has turned out a treat and mows really well (which is good considering that's what its for LOL).

Mr B grew up in a household where recycling was the norm. His parents and aunties and uncles used to keep things to rebuild, remake and renovate with. One of the first engines he worked on as a child were mowers and we have never bought a mower. They've always been recycled and maintained from second hand free parts. He then moved on to working with old scooters in his teens which developed a life long passion for these old beauties.

Mr B's dad renovated their house & built a house boat out of old building supplies. His uncle's garage was a treasure trove of old useful bits, put aside for future use. His mum and aunties used to collect road side fruit and make preserves. So it's nice to see that he embraced all these skills and has incorporated them as part of his adult life.

I feel lucky that I met him and together we work hard on not having a disposable life.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

House hunting...blech!!

 Picture courtesy of here 
It's official....I hate house hunting. And before you say "so??" - I used to love house hunting. Whether for myself or family / friends, I used to really enjoy going along and checking out new houses. It was fun and interesting to see different places, and sticky beak at how people decorated and lived in those places. I'd loved the potential of a new place and then meeting the reality after seeing it on the internet. Mind you I did have a bit of a twilight zone moment recently at one house - it looked like we lived there. Same books, similar artwork, similar lifestyle...bit eerie really.

But after 4 months of looking for a new house, I am over it!! We have had very little luck in finding anything (and yes I do realise there are not that many houses on the market during winter). We've also discovered that about 60% of houses up here have mold and I've become the canary down the mine shaft because entering these houses or even smelling them from the door way sends me off into a massive asthma attack.

For one moment there we even seriously considered a rural change or a sea change. There are some gorgeous houses in rural Victoria and I became quite enamoured with Geelong and it's sustainable culture. Plus it was close to the beach :-) But ultimately we want to stay where we are because we've finally put down roots here, our family is close and we like the location, lifestyle and people.

So we push on....I guess house hunting is just one of those tortures you need to go through to find a new place. With spring and the sunshine we are slowly seeing a trickle of new properties on the market. Unfortunately I am one of those annoying optimistic glass half full problem solving kind of gals, so as soon as I'm knocked down or demoralised, I bounce back and think of ways of to improve the situation.

Fingers crossed our house will find us soon :-)

Friday, September 9, 2011


Photo found here

We have the best news at the House of B...Little B has outgrown his egg allergy. Woo time!!!

He has passed his egg trials and is now happy eating eggs a few times a week. Considering he is 4 years and 8 months this seems a long time coming. And while we currently buy our eggs from a friend who doesnt feed her chooks soy grain, we have tried one bought egg and he didnt have a bad reaction.

His allergy list is still pretty long but it warms my heart to see how proud he is of being able to eat something new - it is the most proud addition to his lunchbox 1 day a week at kindy. Plus bonus for us is now it makes sense to get some little chookens - Mr B loves eggs as does Granny B and now Little B. 3 fantastic reasons to make our eggs home grown.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Checking out energy suckers

Having had solar panels before (albeit for a very short time), I know how effective they can be at decreasing your electricity bills if you are also watching your usage. But this time around I've been having more fun checking out what makes the dial go forward rather than backwards (ie what is an electricity guzzler since we want the system to feed back to the grid).

And it's been an interesting few weeks. Some things have surprised me and some have just been a confirmation of the obvious...

* the slow cooker uses hardly any electricity and the dial goes backwards when it's on

* the dial spins crazily forward whenever anyone uses the kettle :-0

* the dial moves forward when the microwave is on standby (which it never is because a) I already know it's an energy sucking monster and b) I hate EMF's).

* the fridge obviously doesnt impact much as the dial goes backward when it's on

* we are currently only using 1kw a day (and that's without making any changes really)

So what changes to make?? Granny B would like an ecokettle as it allows you to only boil what you need and thus reduces energy usage. But Mr B and I have preferred to use a little gas hob kettle we got from the op shop in the past. It's currently being used by Little B to dress up as the Saucepan Man from The Faraway Tree but will go back to the kitchen when we buy a house :-)

We already do all the obvious things - keep things switched off at the powerpoint to avoid vampire loads, wash in cold water, use sunshine rather than lights when we can, have laptops not computers, have gotten rid of anything electrical that's main job is to be a power sucker (read answering machines, cordless phones). And obviously when we arent living here and Granny B is working all day, there will be nothing on to compete with the solar feeding back into the grid!!

So in the meantime, I cant wait to see what happens with Granny B's first bill :-)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

this saturday i'm grateful for beaches

I'm a later in life beach baby. I loved swimming and beaches as a child, but couldnt have been more disinterested in the beach as a teenager and early adult (probably influenced by my goth phase LOL). But in the last few years, I cant get enough of the beach and luckily Little B is just the same :-) So this Saturday after a few days of sunshine, I'm grateful for...

* the beach - we've wiled away quite a few hours at the beach the last few days. It's weird but we live up amongst the trees & ranges near a national park but it's only a 30 min drive to the beach!! Bonus!!

* friends - I've had the pleasure of catching up with a few besties this week and there's nothing better than having someone to dissect your life with and have them be supportive.

* dads - Mr B is simply a fab dad and I have loved watching him grow in this role. He impresses me with his patience, his thoughtfulness, his protectiveness, his advice and his ability to remember what pretend character we built out of Lego last night xxx

Checkout The Beetle Shack, where Emily is hosting grateful loveliness this week..